It seems fall has finally reached the Tri Cities. Whether it stays cool or warms up momentarily, now is the ideal time to prepare your home for the winter. Over the next few weeks we will be covering some of the fall maintenance to do’s to keep your home safe and running well during the coming winter months.
1. Filters – Changing the water line filters in your clothes washer is vital for the health of your washer. The inlet water lines often have these filters to block debris and dirt from entering the washer. Clogged lines will slow the water causing it to take longer for your washer to fill, which in turn may cause your clothes to not get as clean as they should and cause your washer to work harder.
Here is how to clean these filters- First turn off both water valves, unscrew the supply lines from the washer, using a squirt bottle and small stiff brush (such as a toothbrush) remove any dirt or debris from the filters. After reconnecting the hoses and turning the water valves back on BE SURE TO CHECK FOR LEAKS!!
2. Faucet Aerators – Over time minerals and sediment from water build up in the aerators of your faucets, causing the water flow to decrease.
To fix this- Unscrew the aerators from the faucets and soak overnight in white vinegar, as it is great at dissolving most minerals found in water. Simply reattach the aerator when clean.
3. Caulking – While you are in the bathroom, check the caulking around the tubs and showers. Cracked or missing caulk will allow water to leak behind the tub or shower, causing water damage and/or mold growth.
To fix caulking – First you must remove the old caulking using a putty knife then make sure the area is dry by using a hair dryer on the crack. After drying apply a bead of 100% silicone caulk to the joint. Put on a disposable glove, dip a finger in mineral spirits and run finger across new caulking to smooth it out. If you don’t have disposable gloves you can also mist the caulk with denatured alcohol and smooth with your finger.
4. Toilets – Also while you are in the bathroom don’t forget to check the toilets for leaks. Be sure to check both the outside and inside of toilet for leaks. The supply lines, bowl connections, where the toilet meets the floor, and inside the tank are the most common areas for leaks. A constantly running toilet usually means the water level is set too high or the flapper valve needs to be replaced.
To fix a constantly running toilet – First check the water level in the back tank and make sure it is not spilling into the overflow pipe. If it is, you need to turn the adjustment screw located on the supply valve or adjust the floating mechanism. If the problem continues replace the flapper valve in the bottom of the tank.
5. Garbage Disposal – Making sure your garbage disposal is clean will prevent bacteria build up and any smells that may build up in it.
To clean a garbage disposal – Pour ½ cup baking soda into the disposal then pour 1 cup white vinegar in and watch it fizz. Once the bubbles dissipate, pour in a pot of boiling water allowing it to sit for 5 minutes. Lastly, run cold water through it while it is running to flush any remaining debris away. An easy and cheap way to keep the smelliness out of your kitchen sink, turn the disposal on and run lemon peel or juice with crushed ice through the machine.
6. Fire Extinguishers – If you don’t already have multiple fire extinguishers in your home, it is highly recommended you purchase some. Fire extinguishers should be checked thoroughly on a regular basis. They should be easily accessible and in good working order. Having them near your fireplace and kitchen is an excellent spot as this is where most fires originate.
Here is what you should do to keep you extinguisher in working order – Make sure the extinguisher is not blocked by anything and check the date of expiration, pull pin and tamper seal. If expired or either the pull pin or tamper seal are broken, replace immediately. If it has any hoses, make sure they are not cracked and have no holes; also, clear any dirt, debris, grease, or spider webs from the unit and nozzle. Inspect the unit for any dents, rust, corrosion or damage and replace if necessary as corrosion is often a sign of the extinguisher leaking. If you have a dry chemical unit, make sure the pressure gauge is reading in the green zone and give the extinguisher a good shake to loosen the powder. If you have a C02 unit, you must weigh the unit in order to check the pressure. This type of extinguisher is labeled according to how much it should weigh, so be sure the weight matches. If not, replace immediately as the unit may have a leak.Distinctive Properties, Inc.